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Streaming Continues Viewing Dominance; Despite Modest Seasonal Gains for Broadcast, Cable

Bob McCullough, Matt Tamanini

In July, streaming surpassed cable as the way that most people in the United States consume television and according to Nielsen's August snapshot of the industry, it is only increasing its market share, despite modest seasonal gains elsewhere.

According to the August numbers, streaming usage constituted 35% of the overall TV consumption for the month, which was another record-high share for the streamers. However, both broadcast and cable posted slight gains in the latest survey, with the numbers coming in at 22.1% and 34.5%, respectively; up from 21.6% and 34.4% the previous month. With all three of those segments seeing increases, Nielsen’s “Other” category saw the biggest decline going from 9.2% to 8.5%. Other includes video outside of the streaming, cable, and broadcasting realms, including social media.

The uptick in cable was largely due to sports programming and cable news, with an overall increase in viewing volume of nearly 10% compared to the numbers from August 2021. The broadcast bump was also driven by sports, along with an increased interest in “general variety” shows like “Big Brother” that tend to do better during the summer doldrums.

The breakdown of streaming performance was revealing as well. Despite drama going on behind the scenes at HBO Max, the streamer saw an impressive 13.7% increase in viewing volume and a record-high 1.2% share.

The driving force behind the jump was the premiere of “House of Dragon,” and a strong performance by HBO Max at this week’s Emmy’s should help provide more momentum going into the fall.

The numbers for YouTube and Netflix were also revealing. Netflix’s usage dropped by 6.5%, and the company lost 0.5 share points, largely due to a decline in “Stranger Things” viewing now that the buzz about the new season has died down a little.

YouTube, meanwhile, gained 2.8% percent in usage with a bump of 0.3% in share points, and the company also matched Netflix’s total TV share for the first time at 7.6%. YouTube TV also increased its share by 14.9% in August compared to the July numbers.

Finally, overall streaming consumption was up 22.6% compared to a year ago, which represented a gain of 6.8 share points.

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